can any help me with this - I've got three pumpkins outside in my veg patch and they're starting to fruit. However, when the flowers die off (or come off because of the rain) the fruit is rotting.
Any reason for this? Is it because of all the heavy rain? If so, should I cover them with plastic sheeting to keep them warm and from the elements?
Hi David, I would say this is normal and due to the small fruit not being fertilized. The flowers with the long spindly stalk are male flowers, the ones with the small bump next to them are female flowers where the fruit will develop. However, if it is very wet and the fowers fill with water, the insects will be unable to transfer pollen from male to female.It is often necessary to fertilise by hand. Pick a dry day, take a mature male flower,(looks like a small truncheon shape inside)strip off the petals and very gently push it into the female flower(looks more circular inside).One male flower will fertilize about 3 female ones.This aught to work, I have done a few on my own pumpkins, and now have about 3 on each plant which are not yellowing, and seem to be growing.Don't leave more than a few on each plant, or they may not grow as big as you wish.Good luck, Mary
excellent answer Mary, and right on the money.
Due to the bee decline, many problems htis year with insufficent pollination.
at times, this too can be attributed to extremely hot/humid conditions, where pollen is actually melted before it can be transferred.
In the event that you have males, but have not got a female quite open, pick two or three males, and put them in a vase of water and sit them in the refrigerator until the female flower opens, this works very well.